James Joyce once mused on “the light music of whiskey falling into a glass – an agreeable interlude”. He may have been talking about an Irish drop as opposed to a Scottish dram, but for those who want not only to hear the musical “falling” but also to learn about Scotch’s heritage and variety of tastes, then, from February, Edinburgh’s Balmoral Hotel is the place to be.
Its newly opened, Olga Polizzi-designed whisky bar is called Scotch, and within its stylish walls are over 400 bottles of whisky from the highlands, lowlands and islands. Dedicated whisky ambassadors have curated four Whisky Journeys (from £35 to £105 per person, although parties of 15-25 can also book), which revolve around the theme of region (tastings include whiskies from Islay to Campbeltown), finish (from different casks), age (from different decades) and rarity (either limited release or closed distillery), and include four or five drams to sample.
To accompany the tastings – and bring out the flavours in each whisky – a selection of nibbles, from wild boar salami to dark Swiss chocolate, from Scottish blue cheese to smoked almonds, will be served. A variety of Uisge source waters from all the main whisky regions will also be offered, giving guests the chance to “open up” their drams and fully appreciate the complex flavours and aromas in their glasses.